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Arizona Gov. Ducey announces new state National Guard leader

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Thursday the new leader of the state National Guard.

Brig. Gen. Kerry L. Muehlenbeck will replace Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire as Arizona’s adjutant general and director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

Muehlenbeck will be the first woman to hold the position in its 156-year history.

The final day for McGuire, who announced his retirement last month, will be Saturday.

“I am very thankful that you chose me, put your trust in me and gave me this opportunity,” Muehlenbeck said during a press conference.

Muehlenbeck is a professor at Mesa Community College’s Administration of Justice Studies Department.

She previously served as Arizona’s deputy adjutant general and has more than 20 years of military experience.

In her new role, Muehlenbeck will manage the day-to-day activities of a nearly 8,300-member department that includes Arizona’s Army and Air National Guard, Joint Programs and the Division of Emergency Management.

“What sold me on Muehlenbeck was her proven record of leadership and her consistent determination to serve her country,” Ducey said.

McGuire had held the position of adjutant general since 2013.

He was a fixture alongside other state officials at coronavirus briefings for the past year.

McGuire had planned to retire last year but continued in his role because of the pandemic.

“Kerry Muehlenbeck is just the best,” McGuire said. “She’s not just a female general, just the best.”

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